Massachusetts workers should seek legal advice immediately if they believe they have been improperly classified as an independent contractor.
Boston, MA (PRWEB) August 15, 2013
Gilman Law LLP, a leading employment law firm, has launched an investigation into the employment practices of many leading companies in Massachusetts. The IRS has commenced a crackdown on employers who abuse the independent contractor classification, which employers may prefer because they do not have to pay withholding taxes or provide benefits, and such "contractors" are easier to fire.
One recent Massachusetts case involved Fedex, who was sued in June 2011 by 11 workers that accused the Pittsburgh-based company of categorizing them as contractors in violation of Massachusetts law and subjecting them to improper shouldering of expenses, according to their complaint. The case is titled Schwann et al v. Fedex Ground Package System, Inc. et al, Case# 1:11-cv-11094, in the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts.
In June 2013, U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns said the drivers duties fell within the scope of FedEx's usual course of business, and, therefore, under Massachusetts' Independent Contractor Statute, they were company employees, not outside contractors. Hence, the Judge granted the workers motion for summary judgment.
(Judge's order: (http://articles.law360.s3.amazonaws.com/0455000/455495/Schwann%20SJ%20Order.pdf)
(complaint: https://www.law360.com/dockets/download/4dfbb97250494d557e000001?doc_url=https%3A%2F%2Fecf.mad.uscourts.gov%2Fdoc1%2F09514350456&label=Case+Filing p. 1)
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of Labor (DOL), and state governments are now swapping information in an effort to stop improper employee classification. A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report (August 2009) claims the IRS is losing billions of dollars, while a DOL study from June 2010 says that up to 30% of employers misclassify workers. According to the GAO, [W]"orker misclassification" actually describes workers being illegally deprived of labor and employment law protections, as well as public benefits programs like unemployment insurance and workers' compensation because such programs generally apply only to "employees" rather than workers in general." The problems impact us all, as when the misclassified workers themselves do not pay some or all of the employment taxes for self-employed workers, the Social Security trust funds suffer a permanent loss.
(http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d09717.pdf at page 2)
(http://www.dol.gov/_sec/newsletter/2010/20100617-2.htm paragraph 2)
According to Gilman Law LLP, it can be difficult for a worker to determine if their classification as an independent contractor is proper. The Department of Labor states that an independent contractor has control of how and when they will work, and has the right to work for more than one client. An employee, as distinguished from an independent contractor who is engaged in a business of his own, is one who "follows the usual path of an employee" and is dependent on the business that he serves.
The employment lawyers at Gilman Law LLP are available now to evaluate your case if you feel that you are a victim of independent contractor misclassification in Massachusetts. For a free employment lawsuit consultation, please contact Gilman Law LLP today at 1-877-428-7374.
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